Enjoying the bunk beds

Hello from my kids’ bunk beds. 

If you saw the room I slept in last night and the surrounding environs, you’d be understandably concerned about the route my life has taken. I have swapped my usual beautiful surroundings of my manicured mid-century Palm Springs home for what looks like an incredibly messy dorm or the roomshare of a broke 20-something just starting out her career. 

If you were transported into the space I’m in this second, you’d be like, “Uh…you good?”

Not where I thought I’d be in my mid-40s for sure. 

I am spending a good deal of my summer back in San Francisco with my puppy Radish, who burned his poor little puppy paws on desert concrete last week and also needs a break from the heat and my kids off and on. 

It’ll be an awesome time to reconnect with a lot of my network, hopefully spin up some interesting things for ChairmanMe, and be inspired by the outside-the-box entrepreneurial spirit of the city that has given me all the exciting chapters of my career. Not to mention, see friends and enjoy all the delicious San Francisco food I’ve missed. 

But…a funny thing has happened since I hatched this plan. I listed my large, beloved Victorian on Airbnb, and even before I got a single review, it booked out for almost the entire summer. 

Yay! I could use the cash with camps back in the mix this summer. And I love sharing this house with people. But, uh, where the hell are we actually going to be LIVING? 

I’m trying to carve out a way for me and the kids and Radish to have our space while also giving our guests a gorgeous, private experience in the front 1,800 square feet of Victorian chic of this house. 

San Francisco’s Airbnb laws require that you live in your home a good chunk of the year, so this is something that has always been the plan; I just didn’t realize it would become such an urgent problem!

Fortunately, we have a back couple of rooms of the house with a separate entrance and its own bathroom and a backyard. 

Unfortunately, it’s always been the weirdest part of the house that needs the most work. It’s the original wash porch and servants room from the original Victorian. (Yes, much of the floor still slants down.)

This is all fine, but home renovation is starting to feel like my personal side-job purgatory. 

First I redid our adorable vintage Airstream into my office, slumber party space with my kids, and general cocoon when I’m overwhelmed or sad or stressed. Then unexpectedly, we spent six months redesigning our Palm Springs house into everything we’ve ever dreamed after a minor flood. (Note: Paul did most of the work on this, to be fair.) Before that was done, I did an unexpected two-week sprint to renovate the Airbnb portion of my San Francisco house in order to help offset this mortgage and keep my kids’ childhood home (which I also had a ton of generous help with). 

I am now dealing, again, with trying to create some domestic magic on a budget with no time out of these weirdly designed (cold!) back rooms. And of course, these are the rooms the guests weren’t going to be in, so all of the stuff that can’t go anywhere else has gone there. I couldn’t walk into my kids’ room when I got here. 

It felt hopeless and lonely at first. Friends offered to let me stay with them, but that would only push off the problem. I need to live this way for a few days, so that I can see what this space needs before my kids get here. 

It needs a lot. (The heat needs to be fixed back here for one thing!) 

But what was frustrating over the weekend awoke Monday morning feeling like promise. These bunk beds are pretty cozy, and their room is remarkably private and quiet when it’s closed off. I have always loved how this room feels like a treehouse jutting into our backyard with these windows. I was reminded that I slept back here for almost a year when Evie and Eli were babies and my marriage was falling apart. How appropriate that this is now going to be our space in SF!

I’m looking at this space like less of a “mini-home” and more of a luxe, decked-out hotel suite just for us. I went over to Valencia and got a Fellow coffee kettle and pour-over set as soon as I landed so that I had the most urgent thing this morning: A delicious cup of coffee.

I’m seeing where to put the mini-kitchenette. I have someone coming to make the weird bus bathroom that’s back here into a real bathroom. (With, uh, a shower.) I am seeing where to shift art and how to clear, clear, clear the stuff we don’t need. 

I am buying the essentials like…I never realized there’s no MIRROR back here. Anywhere! I have never been in this part of the house with the rest of the house being off limits. It’s kinda like an adventure. 

You know what my secret weapon is? Pottery Barn Teen. I am not a huge Pottery Barn fan, but their teen line has a ton of furniture designed for storing a ton of stuff in a tiny one-room space. I got a loft bed, I’m putting in the other room for myself and three tall floor-to-ceiling units that I’m replacing various mis-matching dressers in the kids room with. One column for each of us, and we’ve gotta find a way to pare all our stuff down to fit in it. 

By the end of the summer (hopefully sooner!), this will be our curated, designed, elevated little secret squirrel suite that we can come hole up in any time work or homesickness requires it. It’s something I’m building with love for my girls and Radish and me. We have names for all our spaces and I want to call it the “treehouse.” 

A plan is forming, and I’ll chip away at it tonight after work and then on my next trip. Any forward momentum is getting me there. This is going to be cozy and beautiful, and if nothing else, it’s the LAST SPACE I OWN that needs a rework. There’s something about that where I’m trying to savor it, not dread it.

What advice or support can you offer fellow members today?